SAGU’s Gates cited by Chamber
Business professor wins Leadership Waxahachie Award
Southwestern Assemblies of God University Business Professor Ellie Gates recently won the Leadership Waxahachie Award at the 93rd Annual Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce’s Awards banquet. Her award was one of nine awards given out for business excellence in the community, recognizing business leaders for their contributions to the city.
“I was so happy to be nominated for this award, and with so many great leaders who have all done great things, I wasn’t sure I’d win,” Gates said. “When they started to read the characteristics of the winner, I was elated to realize I had won.”
Gates explains that her third consecutive nomination results from her ongoing efforts in facilitating and developing the curriculum for Leadership Waxahachie. In 2018, she partnered with Sandy King, former Waxahachie Chamber President, Charles Pulliam, and Andy Lehman to develop the program's curriculum with an ambitious goal in mind—training over 500 leaders in ten years.
Since the launch of Leadership Waxahachie, Gates and her colleagues have trained over 100 leaders in multiple disciplines across the city. These graduates spent a year developing their leadership skills and are now serving community organizations on boards as the program's second phase to help transform the city. After helping to construct the curriculum, Gates moved into the role of Business Coach for the chamber, teaching business classes and entrepreneurs within Ellis County.
"It's been a joy to help identify and flesh out the vision and strategy for many smaller companies," Gates said. In addition to this big-picture work, she has also helped companies improve their marketing, customer service, leadership, and internal structure to make their businesses more sustainable. "The pandemic was a great test of our Chamber's leadership, and it was great to be a part of this team helping owners and leaders navigate the changes and to care for their employees and our community," she says.
As a SAGU professor, Gates also enjoys incorporating leadership principles in classroom discussions. With over 20 years of working in high-tech corporations such as Adobe, Microsoft, and T-Mobile, she can reflect on her experience in corporate settings to approach topics like ethics or strategy with students. Simultaneously, through Business Techne, Gates' consulting practice, she can keep her students apprised of current trends and best practices across multiple business industries and non-profits.
"My guiding life purpose is 'Restoring that which is Lost,' and as a part of that, I believe God has called me to 'Love, Equip, and Champion people to be all that God has called them to be.' There is nothing like the thrill of watching God grow people. Leadership to me is a posture, not a position. I love seeing people run towards hard problems knowing they have the skills, experience, and confidence to help others with God's help. That mission is one I'm blessed to be working towards both in the classroom and the boardroom."
As Gates looks to the future, she expects more opportunities to train passionate leaders, especially SAGU students. Through God's direction, she left corporate America and came to SAGU four years ago to develop the next generation of business leaders. Additionally, she leverages her network and career experience to connect students with great internships and opportunities to give back to the community.
"I am just so grateful God pushed me out of my comfort zone and brought me here for this time and this season to love, equip and champion our students to be incredible business leaders,” Gates said. “It's equally thrilling to watch those who have graduated begin to leave an indelible mark on the people they work with, and I know they will shape the future of business as lights in the darkness. There is no greater joy for me than to know that I am doing exactly what God called me to do, and I look forward to continuing to grow our Kingdom impact for years to come."